471bhp Lexus RC F has on-paper advantage over 425bhp BMW M4. Does it translate to the road?
With much of Lexus' current line-up focusing on comfortable, efficient saloons and SUVs, you'd be forgiven for thinking that a big-engined performance coupe might send out the wrong message to the brand's potential customers.
However, Lexus also wants to show that it can be exciting and youthful, and its new RC F is the car for the job. If it wants to be the king of the fast four-seat coupe sector, though, the RC F will have to beat the current class leader – the BMW M4.
When the M4 was released last year, we pitched it against the Porsche Cayman S and Audi RS5, with the controversial M car coming out on top and raising the bar in the process.
While the bodystyles might be similar, the BMW and Lexus take a different approach to how they make their power. Lexus has opted for a large-capacity, naturally aspirated V8 engine, while BMW has dropped its old V8 in favour of a six-cylinder turbo for efficiency. The result is that you have to work the RC F's engine and box to keep it on the boil; the M4's low-down grunt means it's lazier yet faster in the real world.
Both coupes look aggressive, and while Lexus' slashed design works on bulkier models in the range, we're not convinced by the same treatment on this more delicate two-door, as it appears a bit too fussy. In comparison, the M4 is less in-your-face, but arguably more appealing because of it.
Lexus and BMW have opted for the same sticky Michelin tyres for their performance models. Both serve up plenty of grip, but with wide 19-inch wheels, there's lots of road roar, too. If you drive either car hard, expect to go through rear rubber quickly. Budget at least 250GBP each for replacements.
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